Posted by: reexaminedlife | June 9, 2010

Asceticism?

I ran across this article a while back when searching for something else. Turns out that it addresses the issue of consumerism within the church in an amazingly well though out way. I’m not Catholic but I feel that it’s a worthwhile read for anyone – regardless of denomination. His use of the term asceticsism maybe a little off-putting for most but the article is not at all about mindless self denial or works based salvation. A very worthwhile read.

Christian Asceticism: Breaking Consumerism’s Destructive Hold

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Responses

  1. Good article. I only have one problem:
    “Offering the tithe has an effect similar to honoring the Sabbath. In order to give 10% to God’s work people cannot be spending everything on themselves. To find 10% in an overextended consumeristic budget likely means that a person’s entire lifestyle would have to change. The monthly budget would need to revolve to a certain extent around the tithe. Thus, a limit on spending would be established by rendering first to God what is His. This would create a situation in which one is invited to learn that income is not meant to be expended solely to expand one’s lifestyle and that an accounting must be given for every penny before God.”

    Is the money God’s? Render unto Caesar was saying that the money is Caesar’s because it had his face on it. Our humanity, our souls, are God’s, and our focus should be on surrendering ourselves to God, not our money. This, however, does not mean I’m against the tithe, just the specific example he used to support it.

    Also, if every penny must be accounted for before God, surely more than 10% must go to “His work”. How can you justify getting those ATV’s as opposed to only giving $1,000 to a battered women’s shelter that year. Again, I’m not saying that only money can accomplish “His work”, but that is the impression I got when reading this part of the article. I’m sure there is a balance here that can be struck, and it is a spiritual one that perhaps the tithe begins by changing your attitudes towards money, which is what the priest was getting at.

    • Excellent point. I see surrendering our money as part of surrendering ourselves to God. It is only one part, but not an insignificant part in most people’s lives considering how much time out of life is typically devoted to acquiring it. Many resist yielding that part of their lives as I did earlier in my walk with Him. All the statistics I have read indicate that very, very few in the church (as a whole) give even 10% of their income. I have many thoughts on tithing but I guess it boils down to the understanding that it all belongs to God and how we use the resources that God has allowed us to have charge over can give some insight as to where our hearts are. As you mentioned, I view the tithing issue as being about changing our attitudes towards money but I see the greater issue as being about our time and priorities.


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